Insider Stories: Recruit We Could Have Lost

I think it would be fair to say that many of the tales related to Hawkeye athletics never see the light of day in the "mainstream" media. In this semi-regular new series - Insider Stories - I'll attempt to recount some of these hidden gems. The first installment recalls the story of a recent basketball recruit might have taken his game elsewhere had damage not been controlled.

Often times, the best recruiting stories are those never told.

We're all used to hearing that a commitment chooses a school for the football and academics. Generic terms are repeated and written about.

The behind-the-scenes information usually is contained in small circles of friends and families. We rarely hear what the juicy factor seals a decision. We get "It was the best fit."

Nobody is lying. We would hope it's the best fit. But what about those guys we barely lock down or just miss on?

You can place Bryce Cartwright in the former category.

The junior college transfer loved his visit to Iowa City earlier this month and was ready to commit shortly after returning to his Los Angeles home. Then, a piece written on a Hawkeye fan website alarmed his father. It referred to racism in the college town frequently debated about on message boards of the local newspaper.

Some of the reader responses under the article on the site came off as racist. While the page often uses satire in its articles, Cartwright's father viewed it as a read flag as a parent potentially sending his son from Compton to the Corn Belt.

Bryce's father called Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery and recruiting analyst Van Coleman after reading the website. He was uneasy and considering re-evaluating his son's commitment.

McCaffery and Coleman scrambled to defuse the problem. They found out that the local newspaper a few years back had written a series on Iowa being a pioneer in the advancement of the minority athlete. They obtained copies of the reports and sent them to the father.

After being reassured by McCaffery and Coleman and getting a chance to read the articles, Cartwright's father decided the words on a website were not enough to keep his son away from his college choice. But they sure could have been.

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